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Same stimulus, same temporal context, different percept? Individual differences in hysteresis and adaptation when perceiving multistable dot lattices

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

How we perceptually organize a visual stimulus depends not only on the stimulus itself, but also on the temporal and spatial context in which the stimulus is presented and on the individual processing the stimulus and context. Earlier research found both attractive and repulsive context effects in perception: tendencies to organize visual input similarly to preceding context stimuli (i.e., hysteresis, attraction) co-exist with tendencies that repel the current percept from the organization that is most dominant in these contextual stimuli (i.e., adaptation, repulsion). These processes have been studied mostly on a group level (e.g., Schwiedrzik et al., 2014). Using a Bayesian hierarchical model comparison approach, the present study (N = 75) investigated whether consistent individual differences exist in these attractive and repulsive temporal context effects, with multistable dot lattices as stimuli. In addition, the temporal stability of these individual differences in context effects was investigated, and it was studied how the strength of these effects related to the strength of individual biases for absolute orientations. The results demonstrate that large individual differences in the size of attractive and repulsive context effects exist. Furthermore, these individual differences are highly consistent across timepoints (one to two weeks apart). Although almost everyone showed both effects in the expected direction, not every single individual did. In sum, the study reveals differences in how individuals combine previous input and experience with current input in their perception, and more generally, this teaches us that different individuals can perceive identical stimuli differently, even within a similar context.
Journal: i-Perception
ISSN: 2041-6695
Issue: 4
Volume: 13
Pages: 1 - 42
Publication year:2022